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The George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge in Perspective
By Nancy E. Sheppard

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In 1952, residents of both York County and Gloucester were in awe when the double swing draw bridge, the George P. Coleman Bridge, was debuted. This new thoroughfare made the ferries that once crossed the York River obsolete and the ability to travel between Gloucester Point and Yorktown was easier than ever.

Named for the former mayor of Williamsburg (see last week’s cover story), the new bridge was a marvel of modern transportation engineering. At 3,750 feet long, it remains the longest double swing draw bridge in the United States and second longest in the world. It is also noteworthy for being the only public crossing over the York River.

As vacationing traffic down Route 17 increased with each decade, there was a need to expand the Coleman Bridge. Between August 1994 through August 1996, it underwent an extensive reconstruction project that turned the two-lane bridge into four.

The Coleman Bridge has also garnered attention as being selected in a special program for peregrine falcon nesting.

Today, the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge remains just as visually pleasing as it is practical for the residents on both sides of the York River. It has become a symbol for travelers and locals alike of a bridge between the past and present; connecting the these two worlds together.


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